How to deal with festive partner dynamics

Life of the party or negative Nancy, here's how to deal with your partner this festive season.

As the festive season approaches are you looking forward to or dreading you and your partner’s festive gatherings with family and friends? Would you like to understand how to better deal with relationship dynamics and make this a truly festive season?

Every relationship has its own dynamics. Sometimes these are positive and sometimes these can be negative. Below you will find tips on dealing with three common partner dynamics this festive season.

Look at me!

Does your partner love being the centre of attention, does all the talking at family and social gatherings and loves to show off their latest gadgets? If you completely ignore this type of partner, they will probably get louder and show off more as their need for attention is not being met.

Rather than getting frustrated by your partner, realise that often their need for attention is based on their own insecurities. It is the person who has no need to shout and show off, who is most happiest within. They know internally who they are and others’ approval or impressing others is not important to them.

The best way to deal with this partner is to appreciate that their behaviour is a reflection of their self belief, and to avoid taking it personally. However, if this partner pushes your buttons, then you need to look at and address those so that you stop overreacting to their behaviour.

Life of the party or negative Nancy, here's how to deal with your partner this festive season.

The Button Pusher

Some partners subconsciously push your “buttons” without even realizing it. Others may know exactly which buttons to push and do it intentionally in order to get a response from you, such as you overreacting with anger, hurt, jealousy or guilt. Often this can be done in jest at someone else’s expense or via subtle or veiled criticism.

The most important thing for you to realize is that your partner can only push your button (either consciously or subconsciously) if you have buttons to push. In the absence of those buttons, they will get frustrated as they go to run the same behaviour and find you either being neutral in your response or responding in an unexpected way. Therefore, the best way for you to deal with this personality is to address your buttons.

Life of the party or negative Nancy, here's how to deal with your partner this festive season.

The Doomsayer

Do you have a partner who is constantly negative, doom and gloom, criticizes others and rains on their parade? This partner’s negativity reflects their own beliefs about the world and themselves. If they are critical of others, they are probably even more critical of themselves; if they are raining on your parade, they are also raining on their own parade. Therefore, avoid taking their comments personally.

At the same time, for as long as you remain a bystander and watch the negativity and you do nothing about it, the longer you will indirectly encourage that behaviour and disempower yourself and others. A quick way to interrupt the negativity is to do something that shocks or surprises the negative partner, thus interrupting their train of thought.

Carefully watch your partner and the moment you notice that they are about to start a negative dialogue, interrupt it right away (eg. changing the topic, getting them to think about or focus on something else). The more negative they are, the more often you may need to repeat this and the bigger the interruption may need to be.

So instead of dreading those festive gatherings with your partner, you can now go along to these events prepared to subtly change the dynamics in an empowering way, and have a merrier and more joyous time.


Dr. Vesna Grubacevic is an author, speaker, media commentator, the founder and Performance Transformation Expert® with award-winning company, Qt. She is the creator of breakthrough behavioural change techniques, holds a PhD, a BEc and has over 35 years’ business experience. She is passionate about helping people to improve their relationships and confidence. Her Amazon best-selling book, Stop Sabotaging Your Confidence, has also been gifted to Hollywood and Australian award winners, nominees, hosts and celebrities. For more free resources on improving your relationships, please visit

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